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TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – How to Care for Your Beautiful Orchid Plants

By Doug Hensel
Doug's Blog

I KNOW, YOU ARE THINKING “WHAT IS DOUG DOING BLOGGING ABOUT ORCHIDS”?!

First, I have to somewhat agree with your thinking.  I am out of my comfort zone, just a little, with this article.  I grew up with house plants.  Both of my grandmothers loved plants.  So, it comes naturally.  I plan to do a blog each month highlighting houseplants.  Houseplants have become more and more popular these past few years with homeowners, apartment dwellers, college dormitory, office complexes, and more.  People are realizing what houseplants offer when it comes to the health and value to our personal lives.

Personally, I find orchids beautiful, mesmerizing and intimidating all at the same time.  But, orchid care is easy.  No reason to be intimidated.  Of all of the varieties of orchids – Phalaenopsis, Dendrobiums, Oncidiums, etc. – we carry them all.  But, it seems that the Phalaenopsis commonly referred to as the “Moth Orchid” seems to be the most popular with its big, beautiful colorful blooms.

Here are some basic orchid care tips that I am sharing from the American Orchid Society:

LIGHTING

Orchids need bright light, with a south or east-facing window working best for them. West windows can be too hot in the afternoon and north-facing ones are usually too dark.

WATERING

Like other indoor plants, orchids should be watered thoroughly, so that all roots receive sufficient moisture, before beginning to dry again.  Avoid overwatering which leads to the demise of many more orchids than underwatering.  Constant wetness will cause the roots to rot, which leaves the plant without a means for taking up nourishment which ten causes the leaves to droop and will eventually kill the plant.  You may have heard about using ice cubes as a technique for watering.  This is only a brilliant marketing concept.  It sells orchids by making their care sound super easy.  Think about this.  Orchids naturally grow in the tropics so ice and cold water are very foreign to them.  Bottom line:  don’t be persuaded to water orchids with ice cubes.  Ice cubes are not a good measurement for watering.

FERTILIZING

The Orchid Society recommends feeding orchids on a regular basis using a “balanced” fertilizer such as 20-20-20 that has all the necessary trace elements.  We use Jack’s 20-20-20 on all our house plants and orchids.  Jack’s Orchid Special, which is 30-10-10, is also a good choice for food.  Whichever fertilizer you choose the Orchid Society recommends using it at half strength and to feed every 30 days.

REPOTTING

Orchid plants need repotting for one or a combination of two main factors:  Potting mix breaks down, often evidence by dead roots, or the plant outgrowing the container.  When it comes to choosing the right potting medium, a fresh, fast-draining, but water-retentive medium is essential to the healthy root system necessary for good growth.  Orchids seem to do best growing in an orchid bark mix rather than growing in moss.

Following these simple care instructions and an orchid will stay in bloom for weeks if not for months.

Are you convinced to give growing an orchid a try?  How about this:  we have a sale on our entire stock of orchids at 20% off from now until Wednesday, September 12.  We receive new varieties weekly from Hawaii and Florida.  So, come to see us.  We are very proud of our selection of orchids.

HAPPY GARDENING – I MEAN HAPPY HOUSE PLANTS!!!

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4 thoughts on “TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – How to Care for Your Beautiful Orchid Plants

  1. What do you do with an orchid once all the blooms drop off? Can you get it to rebloom? Do you cut off the stems? What is the care regimen?

    Thanks!!

  2. Cheryl,
    Now comes the challenge to get your orchid to bloom again. Yes, cut back the old flower stems all the way. Continue to keep the orchid plant in a bright window – preferably a bright eastern window. For the winter you could put the orchid in a western facing window since our sunlight isn’t as hot or as long. You can feed your orchid monthly with an orchid food or a 20-20-20. Be sure to use half strength. You need to be patient. Depending on the type of orchid it could take 6 month to a year to get new flower stems. Let me know if you have any further questions. Happy September to you, Doug

  3. Do you offer delivery for your orchids? We need two orchid plants for our office – just wondering.

  4. Melissa,
    We do offer delivery service with a fee that is determined by zip code. I am not sure where you live. Basically, our delivery range is within the Richmond Metropolitan area. If your office is within our range and you are still interested in delivery then give us call. 804 – 320 – 1317. We can take your information and arrange the delivery. Doug

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